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Experts defend Pokemon Go, highlight existing social problems

Aug 11. 2016
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DESPITE SOME negative concerns, Pokemon Go can be a good tool to teach children and also improve family relationships, a group of psychiatrists suggested yesterday.
At a forum at Chulalongkorn University titled “Where Pokemon Go Will Take Thai Society”, the audience heard that the game highlighted existing problems in society that were not actually caused by the game.
Dr Puchong Laorujisawat, an adult psychiatrist from the Faculty of Medicine Chulalongkorn University, said the key point to prevent people from causing problems for themselves or others while playing the game was basic self control.
“If one does not have discipline and self control, no matter which games are introduced, there will be a problem,” Puchong said.
“Many people complain about the game making children addicted, but in reality the parents themselves did not control gaming time for their children and teach them to manage their time. It is not all the game’s fault.”
Concerns have been expressed about the game’s affect on family relationships. Associate professor Panrapee Suthiwan, a psychologist on children and teenagers’ development, said the game can also bring parents and their children together.
“Children and teenagers’ big issue is the acceptance of friends, so forbidding the game will result in resistance from the children. They may start to lie or play the game behind their guardians’ back, which is bad,” Panrapee said.
“However, we can turn things around by playing with children and teaching them how to play it without causing problems. We can use the game to be a link between parents and children. There is nothing that has only a good side or a bad side, we just have to pick the way to use it wisely.”
Puchong said many of the problems blamed on the game were already in society and the game only served to enhance the issues. 
He gave one example of a Pokemon Go player who was |robbed while playing the game. “It is the player, who did not care about his or her safety, and more importantly it is the thief that committed the crime, not the fault of the game,” he said.
“If we carefully consider that many problems are existing problems, we should prioritise solving these problems instead of blaming the game and the players who also have to be careful for their well-being all the time.”

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